|Review: Karuna - Neitherworld|
Year released: 2009
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: November 12, 2009
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
Rated 4.25/5 (85%) (12 Votes)
Some people say Power Metal is a dead art, that it has lost its validity in the world of Heavy Metal. Well, really, I don't think that's true at all – it's just not really a genre that focuses on progressing outside of its boundaries. Rather, Power Metal is a genre that focuses on refining itself and making the classic formula better, updating it and giving it some new touches where it needs them. And with that Karuna.
This is just really cool. At first it sounded generic, and maybe it is, but it does the standard formula really well, and manages to meld together its influences with class – you can hear old Edguy here, a pinch of 90s Stratovarius, some DragonForce there, some older Dragonland there, but no one influence overwhelms. It's all melded together to create a fresh, fun sound of retroactive and catchy Power Metal. The guitars are actually more involving than is usual for a Power Metal band, cranking out some legitimate riffage and not restraining themselves to the power chord-infested songwriting than many of their contemporaries do. The production is surprisingly good for a little demo release, with a good, slick guitar sound, some light keys and the vocals right up front where you can hear them – the guy has a solid voice, never going out of key or trying to overstep his range. He just does the job right, and that's what I like to hear in a singer sometimes.
There are only three songs here, so I can't really tell you how consistent this band would be on a larger scale, but as a micro-economic package, their demo is very solid, offering nothing but above-average quality metal. The title track "Neitherworld" is a hyper-catchy tune that will lodge itself in your brain for hours, and the seven minute "Wayfarer" is even better, exploding with energetic power and kinetic guitar leads that remind me of a young DragonForce, but maybe even better – if they can write more songs like this, they'll definitely be in the business for a long time. The final song is "Lost," and it's not quite as good as the other stuff here, but it still manages to deliver, with a catchy chorus and some pleasant synth melodies backing it up. For Power Metal fans, Karuna's Neitherworld is not something that should be passed up.
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